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A Naiad  1893  also known as Hylas with a Nymph. The painting by Waterhouse
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A Naiad  1893  also known as Hylas with a Nymph

The British painter John William Waterhouse concluded the oil painting entitled A Naiad, also known as Hylas with a Nymph, in 1893. The artist previously executed a study for the female figure called A Naiad, study, and three years later, Waterhouse finished his iconic work portraying the same character in Hylas and the Nymphs.

Deriving from ancient Greek mythology, Hylas was Hercules’ right-wing man, a servant and a companion to the God. He was often depicted being seduced by Naiads, nymphs derived from fresh water, like lakes, rivers, springs, fountains, among other locations. The Greeks considered nymphs as semi-Goddesses that exuded sensuality and charm – many times using this to allure men into their trap – and they were categorized depending on their habitat. The myth states that Hercules made Hylas as one of his Argonauts – meaning he would sail alongside him on the Argo, a legendary ship. It was during his travels that the God lost track of Hylas after he was taken by the nymphs and refused to return.

In A Naiad (Hylas with a Nymph), Waterhouse used a long horizontal canvas to portray a quiet scene in the woods. The protagonist lays on the ground, possibly awakening from slumber. The artist’s academic background enabled him to produce realistic paintings with amazing representations of anatomy – as seen in Hylas’ unusual position, which makes it ambiguous if he is looking at the nymph or still asleep. With a leopard pelt, the mythological character covers his hips and thighs.

The overall artwork was painted with warm, earthy tones, like green, brown, ochre, and yellow. On the bottom left corner of the composition, a cool blue river works its way in between the forest, creating a diagonal line that crosses the canvas and leading the viewer into the distance. A naiad calmly emerges from the stream, holding onto the thin branches of the dry trees and lurking towards Hylas. She is nude, has straight brown hair and a large leaf over her head. The nymph doesn’t look directly at the young man, but to the side, checking if the surroundings are safe. The artwork A Naiad (Hylas with a Nymph) causes a sense of suspense and apprehension to the audience, who awaits the naiads’ next move.

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A Naiad 1893 also known as Hylas with a Nymph John William Waterhouse

Item Number: 13995065 show sizes in cm
Painting Price: $393.99
Total Price: $393.99
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